Friday, March 03, 2006

AP "News Analysis" Sez: Government is the Problem—Not Just the Bush Government, but Government in General

Oh, is that so? This AP article, which is purportedly news analysis, actually turns out to be an anti-government diatribe; the sort of propaganda that is so dear to the hearts of conservatives.

The intended spin here would have you conclude that the great majority of Americans are now concluding the following: “In light of the video tape of Bush getting all the pre-Katrina warnings and Bush’s subsequent ineffectual response and lies about those warnings, we now know that Bush and his GOP cohorts are bad at governing--which is just another example of government being bad--so it obviously follows that government is itself innately bad.” The notion that government is basically some kind of ineffectual evil is, of course, a key conservative position--and is, of course, bullshit. Government is a necessary institution in human life and, in and of itself, is neither good nor evil. There are good governments and there are bad governments—and the fact that the Bush/GOP government is bad (ineffectual, corrupt, and blatantly dishonest) does not mean that all governments are bad.

And contrary to what the author would have us believe, the majority of Americans have not concluded that government is itself the problem. They’ve concluded nothing of the sort; witness the millions of people in this country who want to replace Bush and the GOP with a government formed by their political opponents so that America can be as peaceful and prosperous as it was during the nineties. Those voters don’t think that all government is bad—do they? Where are they quoted in this AP piece of objective journalism? We hear little or nothing from them in this piece, but we hear a lot from the chronic cranks who are angry about government and want less government in American life. Fascinating, when you recall that the Americans who were angry about government and wanted less government in American life are the same ones who voted in the present Republican Congress and the same ones who voted for Bush for president—twice.

The latest video tape proving that Bush is a liar may disenchant even more of his supporters, but it doesn’t discredit the notion of government at all in the eyes of Democrats and other Bush opponents. They don’t want an end to government or less government, they want a government that can deal effectively with national crises.

And we know from past experience that that is an attainable goal. Just because Bush and his Republican crew in Washington have shown themselves to be ineffectual and dishonest incompetents doesn’t mean all the opposition candidates are. That doesn’t follow logically and it hasn’t been our historical experience either.

And the writer would have you believe that is the opinion of a significant number of Americans that “individuals” will do better than the government at solving crises like Katrina. Well, that’s news to moi! A hell of a lot of people down here in New Orleans are complaining about the job the different levels of government are doing, but 1) nobody down here in New Orleans is turning down the massive help that the government IS offering, and 2) nobody from the private sector has offered to take over the government’s responsibilities. In fact, the “individuals” and the “private sector” the AP writer cites as alternatives to government, are the main recipients of government aid!

So if the AP writer and the folks he quotes are going to abandon the idea that government should handle major crises and depend instead on the “private sector” and “individuals” to come to their rescue,--well, they better turn on the Bat-Signal and start getting word to Superman and the Lone Ranger, right now. Because all that the churches and armies of secular volunteers and contributions from private industry have achieved—and their contributions have been critical—have not been enough to put New Orleans and coastal Mississippi back together again. And the folks here still need to rely on the governments they vote for and pay taxes to to help them cope with this catastrophe—believe it or not, Mr. Associated Press Objective Journalist!

So you better abandon these “private sector superhero fantasies” you’re trying to sell here, Mr. AP, and stop editorializing in the news "analysis." The problem is not “government,” the problem is “the present Republican government.” Bush and his GOP Congress were warned about the storm, warned about the condition of the levees, and could have prevented an American horror story if they had put a mere 2 or 3 billion dollars into renovating the levees prior to the hurricane season. (Compare that government investment with how much the Bush administration is spending on its pointless war in Iraq each month.) America doesn’t need a new kind of government; all it needs is competent leadership again. And if the voters once again develop the brains necessary to reject conservative candidates and policy at the polls, we may once again enjoy the kind of government that deals realistically and effectively with serious problems--before they degenerate into national tragedies.


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